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67. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 21, 2009 at 08:03 PM (#3057611)
Kent definitely falls short for me. Here's how he looks in my WARP.
Year SFrac BWAA BRWAA FWAA Replc WARP
1992 0.50 -0.1 0.0 -0.3 -1.0 0.6
1993 0.79 0.5 -0.2 -1.0 -1.3 0.6
1994 0.93 1.4 0.0 1.4 -1.6 4.4
1995 0.84 1.2 -0.2 0.5 -1.3 2.8
1996 0.69 0.6 0.3 0.0 -0.8 1.7
1997 0.95 0.5 0.2 0.9 -1.4 3.0
1998 0.86 3.4 0.0 0.5 -1.4 5.2
1999 0.84 2.0 -0.3 -0.2 -1.4 2.9
2000 1.00 6.0 -0.1 -0.8 -1.5 6.7
2001 1.02 3.7 -0.3 0.4 -1.5 5.3
2002 1.00 4.3 0.4 -0.3 -1.5 5.8
2003 0.81 1.6 0.0 -0.2 -1.3 2.7
2004 0.88 1.7 -0.4 1.0 -1.5 3.9
2005 0.93 3.1 0.1 -0.1 -1.5 4.7
2006 0.69 1.8 -0.3 -0.9 -1.1 1.7
2007 0.81 1.6 -0.1 -1.0 -1.4 1.9
2008 0.69 -0.2 -0.2 -0.9 -1.2 -0.1
TOTL 14.23 33.1 -1.1 -1.0 -22.7 53.8
TXBR 13.54 33.3 -0.9 -0.1 -21.5 53.9
AVRG 1.00 2.3 -0.1 -0.1 -1.6 3.8
In my salary estimator, that comes out to $141 million, where $150M is roughly the Hall in/out line. The combination of 2B being easier now than it was before 1980 and the high standard deviation of the high-scoring, doubly-expanded NL after 1998 just sets him back too far. There are a lot of supposedly borderline modern players I support--not just Larry Walker and Jim Edmonds who I think are no-brainers but Brian Giles and Jason Giambi--but Kent isn't one of them.
Dan explains the defensive metrics he uses for Kent:
69. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 21, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3057620)
It's my fielding wins, which are a weighted average of Zone Rating and Retrosheet data that shows an overwhelmingly high correlation (r > .85) to an average of modern PBP metrics.
That said, Kent wasn't bad with the glove; he was average. He just didn't hit well enough for long enough to meet the Hall standard for average-fielding, average-running, 1990's/2000's NL 2B.
Dan muses later in the thread, post 79:
1. 2B is not what it used to be. In the 1970's, 2B was truly a "middle infield" position, second only to shortstop in terms of how poor hitters replacement players at the position were. Scrap heap catchers and third basemen were far better offensively than their 2B counterparts. After 1985, that was no longer the case--replacement 2B improved their hitting substantially, to the point where today they are indistinguishable from 3B and CF (as Tangotiger also notes). As a result, Kent (and all modern 2B) need to be held to a higher standard offensively than their historical predecessors, because the position has evolved into a mid-defensive spectrum role.
2. Kent compiled his highest OPS+ marks in one of the easiest eras to dominate in major league history, the 1998-2002 NL. The combination of two expansions and extremely high run scoring meant that hitters' performances were spread out substantially more than they were in, say, the early 1980's NL. A given OPS+ mark (100, 125, 150, whatever) in 1998 "bought" notably fewer pennants than it would have 15 years before. (Note that there is no mention of steroids in this statement).
3. Given these contextual factors, you simply can't compare Kent's 9,537 PA at a 123 OPS+ to, say, Bobby Grich's 8,220 at 125 and conclude that they had similar offensive value, or that Kent was slightly superior. (In fact, if we ignore baserunning and fielding, I have Grich at 65.2 wins above replacement and Kent at 54.9). Given how easy it was for teams to find a "decent" OPS+ at 2B during Kent's career, he simply didn't separate himself enough from that benchmark to meet the Hall's overall standard. (For the same reason, I am much less friendly to Alomar than most, although I still think he deserves enshrinement).
He further explains his method for calculating replacement in post 93:
the *overall* replacement level doesn't change, just the *relative* replacement levels of the different positions. My system only attempts to measure players' contextual value as accurately as possible. I don't know for sure why middle infielders hit so much better now than they used to, although I have a pretty strong hunch it has something to do with the reduction in turf fields and the changing emphasis in the game on power over speed. But it indubitably has happened, and that's what counts when we are trying to determine how many wins a player was worth to his club.
I trace the evolution of the defensive spectrum over time by looking at the performance of the worst 3/8 of MLB starters over rolling nine-year periods. That means that for Kent, we're talking about literally 100 player-seasons (which exclude the performance of all above-average players that might skew the curve with their once-in-a-generation excellence). The odds that a sample this large would be influenced by fluctuations in the talent are sufficiently small that I see no reason to doubt the results.
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